Modern and contemporary kitchen designs are increasingly embracing open kitchen plans. Whereas at one time it was popular to have a kitchen that was separate from the dining area, open kitchen plans allow for one cohesive space for both food preparation and dining. Depending on the architecture of the home, an open kitchen plan can also create seamless transitions between the kitchen, dining, living, and recreation areas of the home.
The creation of a visually pleasing, workable open kitchen plan requires one to focus on both foot traffic patterns and flooring plans. To achieve this, homeowners or luxury kitchen showrooms must first analyze the typical flow of the kitchen. How do the people that live within the home interact with the kitchen space? It helps to observe current behaviors. It also helps to create diagrams of the kitchen and map out all of the various ways that people may enter, exit, and pass through the traditional or contemporary kitchen. All doors and entryways must be noted, and all patterns should be considered. Is there enough room between counters to pass easily? Are there sharp turns? Are there places in the kitchen where a blind spot might be created, increasing the likelihood of collisions? Considering all of these elements helps with the creation of a floor plan that will work long term.
In kitchen design, there is an element referred to as ‘creating views’. This essentially refers to the windows and doors in the kitchen that allow for a ‘view’ of the outdoors to be created. The presence of the outdoors in the kitchen is actually very important – it creates texture in the space and opens up the room. Views, therefore, are placed very deliberately and are created using a vision for how the space will be used. Can the outdoors be viewed from where one would stand to prepare food? Is the outdoors visible from the dining table? Visuals of outdoors will vastly impact the emotion of the room, and therefore it’s important to consider their placement.
Although often a breakfast nook or a wall defines the parameters of an American or Italian style kitchen space, this is not necessarily the case in an open kitchen design. In many open kitchen designs, flooring is instead used to establish various spaces within the larger space. The varying floor material is particularly useful in a long, corridor-like space. Wood in one area and carpet in another area is one way to achieve this. Alternating tile and polished concrete is another. Rather than creating a structure that takes up airspace within the kitchen, using alternating floor patterns can promote cohesiveness between spaces.
By considering the foot traffic of the space, how people will be interacting with the space, what views exist, and how the flooring breaks up the space, a workable open floor plan is created. Space between appliances and how the visual design of the kitchen affects user experience are very important elements when considering such a design. Ultimately, you want a space that is open, functional, and comfortable within the home.